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Far-right Oath Keepers founder sentenced to 18 years over January 6 attack

Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was sentenced on Thursday to 18 years in prison, after being convicted of seditious conspiracy for his role in the January 6 attack on Congress.

Prosecutors sought a 25-year term. Lawyers for Rhodes said he should be sentenced to time served, since his arrest in January 2022.

Rhodes did not enter the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, when a mob incited by Donald Trump smashed its way in, attempting to stop certification of Joe Biden’s election win.

But prosecutors successfully made the case that he and his group prepared an armed rebellion, including stashing arms at a Virginia hotel, meant for quick transfer to Washington DC.

Other members of the Oath Keepers, some convicted of seditious conspiracy, are due to be sentenced this week and next.

Members of another far-right group, the Proud Boys, will face sentencing on similar convictions later this year.

Nine deaths have been linked to the January 6 attack, including suicides among law enforcement. More than 1,000 arrests have been made and more than 500 convictions secured.

In court filings in the Oath Keepers cases, prosecutors said: “The justice system’s reaction to January 6 bears the weighty responsibility of impacting whether January 6 becomes an outlier or a watershed moment.”

Trump was impeached for a second time for inciting the attack but acquitted by Senate Republicans.

Laying out Trump’s actions after the 2020 election, the House January 6 committee made four criminal referrals to the justice department.

Trump still faces potential indictments in state and federal investigations of his election subversion and role in the attack on Congress.

Nonetheless, he remains the clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination next year.

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